Triple-A baseball games played after the major league rosters expand on Sept. 1 can feature some strange lineups, and that was the case in the Salt Lake Bees’ 10-1 win over the Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday night.
Salt Lake had three of its starting four infielders playing a position for the first time in their career. That included second baseman Gary Brown, an outfielder who had never set foot in the infield in the first six years of his professional career.
Salt Lake’s infield made all of the plays, and the Rainiers had just four hits in the game.
“We had a couple of guys playing different positions, and they made some good plays for us,” said Bees outfielder Roger Kieschnick, who had three hits.
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Kieschnick and catcher Stephen McGee hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning against Tacoma starter Tyler Olson (2-5).
Other than the homers, Olson was solid. He lasted five innings and gave up two runs on four hits.
Olson left trailing 2-1, as Tacoma could not muster much offense against Bees starter Nate Smith (2-3). Mike Zunino doubled in the fourth inning, and Jabari Blash doubled him home with two outs for Tacoma’s only run.
Smith allowed one run in six innings to earn the win. He was making his sixth Triple-A start after spending the majority of the season at Double-A Arkansas, where he was named the Texas League pitcher of the year.
Salt Lake opened up the game in the bottom of the sixth, collecting five singles and scoring two runs against rehabilitating Mariners reliever Joe Beimel.
The Bees tacked on three more runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, turning the final score into a blowout.
Blash left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning when he fell awkwardly while charging a sinking line drive in right field.
“He’s OK, he mildly hyperextended his knee,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach. “I expect him to play Wednesday.”
With Sean O’Malley, Stefen Romero, Jose Ramirez, and Tony Zych called up to Seattle, the Rainiers added reinforcements. Outfielder Julio Morban, and pitchers Andrew Kittredge and were promoted to Tacoma from Double-A Jackson. Morban and Kittredge played for the Rainiers earlier this season.
James Paxton (0-1, 9.82 ERA) makes his final rehabilitation start for Tacoma in a 6:05 (PDT) game at Salt Lake City. The Bees will start Tyler DeLoach (1-4, 5.74).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.